Posts tagged: Tr-Ash Talk

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Tr-Ash Talk

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.


unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Emily Enderle's blog posts
21 October 2011, 10:48 AM
Pals of polluters vote to let coal ash poison our water supplies
Clean-up operations in the aftermath of the 2008 Kingston coal ash spill. (TVA)

On Friday, in a 267–144 vote, a majority of House members voted to keep allowing coal ash to pollute our drinking water. The passage of the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273) lets states choose to adopt a disposal standard less protective than those for household garbage.

The bill fails to protect communities from drinking water polluted by arsenic, hexavalent chromium and other cancer-causing chemicals or disasters like the TVA spill. It doesn’t even take the most basic step of eliminating wet disposal ponds, which both EPA’s proposed options include. Further, it doesn’t create a federally enforceable baseline standard and serves solely to establish a toothless regime that treats this ash with fewer protections than household garbage.

Under the leadership of Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), the GOP-controlled House has taken aim at public health and transparency, undermining the efforts of the EPA to use the best available science to complete their public rulemaking addressing coal ash.

View Alana Bryant's blog posts
12 October 2011, 11:46 AM
Debunking polluters' unfounded fears
Massive clean-up operations in the aftermath of the 2008 Kingston coal ash spill. (TVA)

The anticipated vote on H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, will be upon us Friday. The bill (sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (WV-R)) would prevent the EPA from establishing a strong national rule to protect American’s health and drinking water from the nation’s second largest industrial waste stream: coal ash.

There are myriad health hazards associated with coal ash disposal sites, due to the many toxic chemicals that are contained in the ash such as arsenic, hexavalent chromium, lead and mercury, just to name a few.  From high cancer risk from poisoned drinking water, to blowing toxic dust, to the risk of catastrophic collapse, too much is at stake to not properly regulate this toxic waste.

But we know now that a strong coal ash rule includes another benefit: 28,000 new American jobs every year.

1 Comment   /  
View Joshua Ulan Galperin's blog posts
07 October 2011, 7:35 AM
Next week House preparing to tie EPA's hands
Kingston coal ash spill. (TVA)

East Tennessee is not known for its population of environmental activists, but last fall hundreds of people turned up in Knoxville to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt a special waste designation for coal ash. Support for EPA’s public health and environmental safeguard is strong here because the 2008 Kingston coal ash disaster occurred in our backyard, making the danger of toxic coal ash blatantly clear.

Experts at the EPA have now spent years reviewing data related to the dangers of coal ash, and they have listened to the opinions and ideas of citizens, including those here in East Tennessee.  Shockingly, even while the EPA reviews the opinions of hundreds of thousands of citizens, anti-environmental crusaders in the United States House of Representatives are preparing to undermine these voices as well as the expertise of the EPA.

Next week the House of Representatives is preparing to vote on H.R. 2273, a bill that would prohibit comprehensive federal oversight of coal ash. H.R. 2273 is a gift to coal companies at the expense of public health and the environment.

View Alana Bryant's blog posts
28 September 2011, 7:54 AM
Finger-pointing and blaming ensue among TVA representatives
Coal ash spill

The TVA Kingston trial has gotten off to a interesting, yet unsettling start. The trial consists of five cases, representing 250 plaintiffs who are suing TVA over the 2008 coal ash disaster that occurred in Knoxville, TN.

Testimony began last week, and proceedings are expected to continue anywhere from the next few weeks to the next few months. Representatives from TVA have been the first to testify, and so far it has been laden with blame-passing statements that characterize the disjointed nature of the TVA departments.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that TVA Engineer Matthew Williams was responsible for maintaining the groundwater monitoring system at the Kingston plant, but faced difficulties when other TVA crews repeatedly ran over his devices with heavy machinery.

3 Comments   /  
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
21 September 2011, 12:28 PM
As TVA trial begins, House members question coal ash rule

As a federal trial on the TVA Kingston coal ash disaster continues in Knoxville, some of our elected leaders in Congress are including the coal ash rule (already delayed due to heavy industry opposition) in a list of rules that will be analyzed - and likely even more delayed.

But more on that later.

The trial is in response to the December 2008 TVA coal ash disaster, which spilled more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash sludge into the Emory River, rupturing a natural gas line, disrupting power and transportation, destroying three homes and forcing the evacuation of a nearby community. Nearly three years later, 230 plaintiffs are suing the TVA over property damage and the ill health effects caused by the spill.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
07 September 2011, 12:50 PM
Labadie, Missouri residents challenge new coal ash pond
Labadie, MO, coal-fired power plant

Last month, Missouri had the dubious distinction of being one of the 12 worst states when it comes to coal ash regulations. In a front-page article that has generated a lot of buzz, residents of Labadie, Missouri have justifiably come together to oppose a new 400-acre coal ash landfill at a site where an existing pond has been leaking – for nearly two decades.

In line with our report, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not even monitored groundwater contamination at the site, which is precisely the issue with residents – they are fearful that the lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium found in coal ash has made its way into their drinking water. But of course the Missouri DNR has no idea if it has, because it’s not required to keep tabs on whether coal ash has contaminated residents’ drinking water.

See why residents are so fearful of another coal ash pond?

4 Comments   /  
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
31 August 2011, 11:26 AM
Joliet residents protest outside congressman’s office
Residents protest outside Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger's office..

Illinois has the dubious distinction of being a state with one of the worst coal ash regulatory programs in the nation. But what is more outrageous is that no less than 11 Illinois congressmen are pushing to block the U.S. EPA from cleaning up coal ash in the state. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is among them. That’s why when the Prairie Rivers Network and Environmental Integrity Project released a report detailing the risk of coal ash contamination in Illinois,  and in Rep. Kinzinger’s district in particular, more than three dozen Joliet, Illinois residents and members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church protested outside of Rep. Kinzinger’s office. 

Illinois not only was profiled in the EIP/Prairie Rivers Network report, it also was featured in an Earthjustice report that listed the top 12 states with the poorest state coal ash regulations. With 68 operating coal ash ponds and 15 retired ponds that still pose a danger, Illinois ranks first in the nation in the number of coal ash ponds. Only about a third of these ponds are lined.  The ponds threaten the health of Illinois communities because at least 10 power plants with active ponds have “high” to “very high” potential to contaminate a drinking water source, according to a 2010 Illinois EPA assessment.  In fact, the Illinois EPA has found pollution— the same chemicals commonly found in coal ash-- in groundwater at all 22 coal ash ponds evaluated by the state agency.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 August 2011, 8:03 AM
Will it take an earthquake to get someone to inspect these coal ash dams?
Aftermath of coal-ash dam spill in Tennessee

The earthquake that yesterday rattled foundations along the eastern seaboard, shut down a nuclear power plant and cracked the Washington Monument also shook a great many dangerous coal ash dams, similar to the one that failed in Harriman, Tennessee almost three years ago.

Several large ash ponds are located near the epicenter of the quake, about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, including three significant-hazard earthen dams at Dominion’s Bremo Bluff and Chesterfield power stations. By definition, these dams will cause serious economic and/or environmental damage in the event of a break. The decades-old dams impound thousands of acre-feet of toxic waste from the two coal-fired plants. However, no one appears to be paying much attention.

But they should be.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
17 August 2011, 10:37 AM
Twelve states lack any regulation of coal ash toxic waste
Aerial view of the 2008 TVA Kingston coal ash spill. (EPA)

Yes, we’re still waiting. And while we wait for comprehensive federal standards that regulate toxic coal ash, we have some more bad news about the state of states' coal ash disposal.

16 Comments   /  
View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
21 July 2011, 2:40 PM
Paiutes point the way to a better future, beyond toxic coal ash

47 Comments   /